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Full text of "A history of Persia"

LVI     EXTINCTION OF THE CALIPHATE    175
you, then, of its details ? There happened things I like
not to mention ; therefore imagine what you will, but
ask me not of the matter ! " Equally poignant, though
more formal, is the threnody which is quoted as a heading
to this chapter.
The sackof Baghdad was a more terrible event in history
than that of Merv or Herat, inasmuch as the city was the
centre of the Moslem world ; and the irreparable injury
to its civilization by the extinction of the Caliphate more
than six centuries after the foundation of Islam, by the
destruction of priceless literary and artistic treasures, and
by the massacre of learned men of all classes, defies
description. Moslem civilization was at that period the
shining light in the world, and it has never recovered
from the deadly blow. The awful nature of the cataclysm
which set back the hands of the clock of progress among
Moslem states, and thereby ''jfidirectly throughout the
world, is difficult to realize and impossible to exaggerate.
The Last Tears of 'Hulagu Khari and his Death, A.H.
663 (1265).—Hulagu :!jyed for seven years after the
capture of Baghdad, by 'Which his name is chiefly re-
membered. During this period he ruled as undisputed
monarch of Iran. He furthermore captured Aleppo and
carried all before him in Syria, until in 1260, after his
departure, the Mongol army was defeated by the Mame-
lukes of Egypt. As Howorth points out, this defeat
saved Egypt, the last refuge of Moslem culture.
Maragha in the north-west corner of modern Persia
was chosen as his capital by the Mongol prince, and there,
in the interests of astrology, in which he believed as
foretelling the fate of princes, he built the famous ob-
servatory, the ruins of which are still visible.
During Hulagu's latter years there was a revolt in
Fars, but the Atabeg Seljuk Shah was captured at
Kazerun, the half-way town between Bushire and Shiraz,
and his execution speedily followed. In Northern Persia
peace reigned because the land lay desolate and only a
timid remnant was left. So Hulagu died in peace and
was buried in the island of Tala, in Lake Urumia, where
he had collected the almost incredible wealth of the